- I also know about the Irish tradition of celebrating Halloween. When we were children we always understood that the next day was All Saints because the nuns in my Parochial school would take us to confession on Oct 31st. Then when we went home we would put on our costumes and go out trick or treating for about 2 hours and come home. And that was it. There was no evil connatation back in the 50's. Then I did the same with my children in the 70's. But other Christians and of course the media brought all of this other meaning into it. Other Christian religions do not celebrate All Saints either. Thank you Mary
- —Guest mary johnson
- It is important to remember we are mortal, will die and pass into the next life. This is fearful, but a reality. Halloween keeps this at the fore. There is nothing new about this fear - http://www3.sympatico.ca/tapholov/pages/bones.html
- —Guest Christopher Rhone
Early Christian Superstition
- Hmmm, interesting. Re: all the spooky stuff, sounds to me as if the early Christians were being superstitious, not something I want my kids to emulate. And as for glorifying the darkness, been there/done that before my conversion. I'll take the "at best" All Saints Day party. ;-)
- —Guest Donna
Evil Is Real
- Evil is real. I was taught by a very wise priest that the children should not dress up in scary costumes or as animals. Keep things light. Fear is not of God.
- Just a good time to have some innocent fun, dressing up in crazy costumes. Nothing unchristian about it.
- —Guest 8ball
More Paganish Than Christian
- Halloween in India has not found much popularity and is known to be predominantly an American culture. Thanks for the eye-opener . . . now I know the roots. I have been listening a lot about Halloween through my cousins in the US and through our clients who look forward to a holidaying weekend. Nevertheless, all of it is more of culture that led to beliefs growing through some sort of revolt mechanism against the existing norms. To me it seems to be more related to Celtic or paganish beliefs and very little of it anymore remains Christian. It just gives one an opportunity to revel before the period of Advent, which is more filled with anxiety and looking forward to something good coming . . . something akin to the revelry of Mardi Gras before the Lent period.
- —Guest Matt Dev
An Eye Opener
- It is an eye-opener for me! Being a Catholic from an adult age, lived in a country where Christianity is not the main religion and my mother is a firm Buddhist believer, there was no Halloween celebration in my household. Nevertheless my mother celebrates the "All Souls Day" during the 5th month of the Chinese calendar. In the late afternoon, she will put out some food, light joss-sticks and candles, burn some papers painted in silver/gold that represented as money on the street outside our house to appease the roaming souls. She believes that this will protect her family from harm generated by these roaming souls. Now coming back to present time, I have moved to a country where Christianity is the main religion. The Halloween celebration only exists when our neighbouring kids come around for “treats or tricks” collection. So in another word, maybe I do celebrate Halloween but not in the big way that others have. Time to stock up on some more lollies!
Dressing as Saints Honors God, Not Gore!
- It is a teaching of our Catholic Faith that saints are what we aspire to be with the correct training and modeling. This I believe can be achieved by creating alternative activities that celebrate God's victory over evil. And the children will enjoy dressing up in costumes that represent not only goodness, but also will reaffirm in them that they belong to the side of good, and to the side of God by honoring the role models of the Christian Faith. (And will also have fun eating, receiving candy.) I think that both adults and children have much to gain from these two distinct, but beautiful celebrations. The adults will feel a way of reconnecting in their spirit with their deceased loved ones by honoring their memory, and by lifting them up in prayer in a collective way through our Home Church Family which is taught by our Catholic Faith that this is a "charitable thing to do" for the souls. BUT I don't agree with your approach "at best" it is an attempt to Christianize.
- —Guest gabriela
- Its origins are Irish. When I was young we always had a party with fortune telling themes? Ghost stories would be told and people would dress up and visit neighbours, turnips were hollowed out with candles inside and put in windows (never heard of pumpkins), drink was consumed,and tricks were played, bonfires were lit, a special cake called a barm brack was made, with a ring for marriage, a stick for a violent spouse, a sixpence for wealth, and rag for poverty, and a pea and a bean, for something else, tricks would be played, and grudges would be repaid, gates would be unhinged, cattle and horses would appear in other people's fields. Fruit and nuts, dates and figs were eaten, and a coconut would be ceremoniously broken in the scullery. We still have the bonfires, the tricks, the barm bracks and the parties, but we're more sophisticated now. We hire costumes, and the innocence is gone. This was always considered an Irish tradition and didn't occur elsewhere, until America claimed it.
- —Guest honoria
Catholic Schools Should Do Better!
- Scott, I was always dismayed when I had kids in the Catholic school system that they made a big deal out of the Eve of All Saints without so much as a mention of All Saints Day. To me it's like celebrating Christmas Eve but ignoring Christmas.
- —Guest Sir Reginald
- Really interesting reflection on the catholic origins of this. Certainly here in the UK , this day seems to be celebrated far more in the last 5 years.I suppose this is just a reflection of a widespread American influence on our society. Thank you for taking the time to write this informative piece on Halloween.
- —Guest Chris Mannion.(York ,England)
I hate the puritan heresy
- Once again the spirit of Hate - and what comes with hate Ignorance on the Move - comes to destroy all that is beautiful in our world. I now see how the fun and freedom of Holloween in my youth is a good to be passed on to the next generation. But I have to fight the "demonic" attack from the puritans
- —Guest Armando
- thankfully someone who understands the orgins of the "disguising" (to hide one's self from the evil spirits abroad on all hallows' eve) - that is why trick or treating is called "guising" in Scotland. the pennies and fine pieces scare away evil and bless the dressed up people.
- —Guest mamabeak
But how to KEEP it Catholic?
- Scott, I was vaguely aware of Halloween's roots before, but thanks for filling in the details. I and my wife and kids are all avid Halloween enthusiasts and will probably remain so for the foreseeable future. We love trick-or-treating and we dress the kids (they're still young enough that we have a lot of say in their costume choices) as saints. So I'm not sure I agree with your response to the All Saints Day approach, where you call it "at best" an attempt to Christianize something that's already Christian. You almost seem to be encouraging a NON-saints approach. And what I'm unclear about is how dressing up as Freddie Kruger is a celebration of heaven, hell, or purgatory, and how it can help us to be better Catholics. Thanks as always for a great post.
- —Guest Jay
Remembering My Dad
- This year will be my first year to celebrate the passing of my Dad by making a altar at a near-by function where lots of other people will make an altar. I have never done this, and we will eat native Mexican food and, instead of being SAD, it will be a celebration.
- —Guest Elizabeth